This is my blog (now there is a surprise!). I will be sticking in it poetry, prose, random musings, things that take my fancy and more than likely lots of pictures of cats. I hope you find something to amuse and/or interest you here.

Friday, 1 April 2011

poetry with cattitude!

The rondeau redoublé. A French form, which has been described as follows by Leonardo Malcovati:

this seriously minor, somewhat twisted and exclusively French metre, of which no more than a handful of examples (two of which, 'A Sylvie' and 'A Iris', of course, by Banville) exist, to show how twisted prosody can be, even in Europe.

Technically speaking a rondeau redoublé is made of six quatrains ended by a hemistich (of exactly the same type as the one in the rondeau form, and built on the first verse as well). The 24 verses, 4 of which are found twice (in the first stanza and as endings of stanzas 2-5) all belong to only two rhyme groups, one of which must be feminine and the other masculine; according to the usual conventions of this chapter, the tricky scheme of this form is:

I'll bet I lost you at hemistich, right? I'll try to make it a bit simpler to follow than that technically correct (but presumes you speak poetic form language) definition.

Let's start with the name:
rondeau redoublé, or "doubled round". The most famous of all rondeaux in the English language is In Flanders Fields by the Canadian poet, John McCrae, which you can read all about in this prior post of mine. The rondeau takes the start of the first line, usually three or four words (technically called a hemistich), and uses it as a refrain at the end of the following two stanzas - hence the repetition of "In Flanders fields" twice more in that poem. The rondeau does not require a particular number of lines per stanza, but usually comes in with three stanzas and a total of 13-15 lines.

The rondeau redoublé, like its simpler sibling, uses a form of refrain, and it also borrows from the start of the first line in order to end the poem. The rondeau redoublé, however, has rigid stanza and line requirements. It traditionally has six stanzas and a total of 24-1/2 lines to it. The first five stanzas all have four lines each; the last has four full lines plus the hemistich (the snippet from the start of the poem), thereby ending the poem precisely where it started (although hopefully having taken you somewhere else in the middle). The "refrain" in a rondeau redoublé is derived from the first four lines of the poem, each of which serves in turn as the
last line of the next four stanzas. The final stanza goes its own way, but must end with that hemistich we talked about earlier.

Oh. And one more thing: the entire poem consists of only two end-rhymes. Traditionally, the first stanza uses ABAB rhyme, which means that stanzas two and four end with an A-rhyme, whereas stanzas three and five end with B. The last line of the stanza helps dictate the rhyme scheme to be used in that particular stanza - it may therefore rhyme BABA/ABAB or ABBA/BAAB, but whatever it does, it must end with its assigned line from the first stanza. The sixth stanza has to stick to the scheme, and must end using that hemistich.

Personally, I think it was designed my sadists and intended for masochists.   So why I am I using it?  Answers on a postcard please.
  This week my cats have presented me with seven mice (five unhurt, two dead),  one rat (dead thank goodness) and one hot, freshly cooked fish finger (fish stick in the US  believe?).  McVitie (the Ginger Nut pictured on this page)  is the biggest provider of the live mice, so this is from his point of view:

My pet's a mouser, not that she is good,
You have to laugh to see her chasing prey.
She doesn't seem to smell them like she should,
She finds them in the end though, anyway.

She has a go at chasing once a day,
And blunders round the house with bump and thud,
She's patient though, they rarely get away
My pet's a mouser, not that she is good.

She squeezes into places that she would
Get stuck in if she didn't know the way
To push things with her hip, she is no dud,
You have to laugh to see her chasing prey.

If I could understand what she would say,
I know the words would surely chill my blood.
I think she hopes her shouts will make them stay,
She doesn't seem to smell them like she should.

She has a burst of speed when at full flood,
Although her fur is turning slightly grey,
Sometimes they go and hide behind some wood,
She finds them in the end though anyway.

Sometimes beloved pets will go and stray,
Some people leave their pets, I never could.
She's pretty good at doing things my way,
She may be human but she's like my blood,
My pet's a mouser.

I keep getting asked what I look like.  An egg wearing glasses is the answer. See:


  1. lol that is so funny, very well written and also shows how much you love your cats :P

  2. WoW I think Im going to have to wrap my head around this one penny, but heck we are always up for a challenge... Ill let you know when I get it up !!
    Thanks for the new form !

  3. ha this is a good bit of fun in verse...my cat would watch...we get deer all the time and she creeps up as if she is going to do something then sits and watches...lol

  4. two more live mice last night. I now have three cats laughing at me as I hunt them down.